Friday, October 7, 2016

Little Peter Pan

Sophia,

Tonight at bedtime you said something very bittersweet. As usual, after lights out and prayers, you wanted to "talk about something". Right now you mostly want to talk about how long until your birthday, your birthday wish list, how long until we visit Uncle Dale's farm, or about the animals at the zoo. But tonight you asked a new question.

"When am I going to be a baby again?"

It was bittersweet because I feel your little heart must long for all the attention that a baby demands. I had to gently explain to you that once we grow up from being a baby, we can never go back; that we just get bigger and bigger until one day, we are as big as mommy. "But I don't want to" you said.

I thought it would help if I tried to get you excited about all the things big kids get to do, like eating treats and food like pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, and french fries. Then I mentally chastised myself for making it seem like only junk food is treat food, so I added in rice, broccoli, and cheese. I said you wouldn't want to go back to taking 2 naps a day, and getting to eat only formula from a bottle. You weren't really buying any of it.

So I said that one day when you are as big as mommy, you could have a baby of your own. You asked "Is it going to come out of my tummy?" Although the answer is likely yes, I wanted to factor in that you may choose to adopt, have a surrogate, or not have children at all. So I said "Well it can if you want it to." You said "But I don't want it to." So I asked how you wanted to get it and you said "from the hospital." Then you asked, "What will its name be?" And I said, "You get to choose!." And you told me you wanted it to be named Chloe and that you wanted a girl.

I told you that someday you are going to be as big as mommy, and live in your own house. That scared you. You said you didn't want to leave our house and you would be scared to live alone. Then I said "Well, you might get married, like I did to Papa, and have a husband, and live in a house with him." You said "but I don't want to live somewhere else." I then realized that this conversation was just too heavy for an almost 4 year old. So I told you that you could live with Mama and Papa forever.

That seemed to satisfy you and we moved on to talking about your birthday toy wish list.

I fully know that chances are, you will grow up and move out. But someday I hope you get to read this, and know that once upon a time you were my sweet, innocent, vulnerable little girl who wanted to live with Mama and Papa forever.

I love you little one.

PS- Please forgive my incorrect quotations format. I can't remember all the rules and I don't feel like Googling it. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To my firstborn on her first day of school

Sophia,

Today you started K4. You are 3 years and 9 months old. I cannot believe we are here. Last night, I was trying so hard to re-experience the feeling of holding and rocking you as a little baby. My mind can remember doing it, but the feelings are not the same. I have enjoyed you in all your stages, but I do wish some days that we could go back, just for a short while, and you could really be my baby again.

I know that K4 is not always "school". But, you are attending K4 at a pretty strict private Christian school. Not a daycare. And next year you'll be in Kindergarten. And then first grade, then 11 more grades. So today is the start of 14 years (gulp!) of academics for you. Wow.

You have had mixed emotions leading up to today, as have I. We have done our best to help you be excited, while still validating and calming your fears. You have been scared about us "leaving you there". But, per your usual, you were excited last night and this morning, and when I walked you into class, you took on the unknown very well. There were no tears from either of us, although after I left you at that big school in the hands of "the unknown" to some degree, I did get a little misty.

Time passed quickly for Caleb and I. He napped, I did housework. It was peaceful. Just a few hours later, I met you at your bus stop. You got off the bus and as I was buckling you in and you were telling me all about your day, I almost lost it. My little baby I love so much had done her first day of school, and loved it, and was now experiencing the big, wide world.

Sophia I want you to know that I am so privileged to be your mommy. You are God's gift and responsibility to us. As we have gone to Open House, and Orientation, it occurred to me that up until now, you have only known stardom in your life. You are so very loved and doted on. At school, while you will be cared for, there will be many many other children also needing attention. You will be in a "herd" of sorts. No one there, or in the world really, loves you and cherishes you like we do. So I hope you grow up knowing that.

I love you very much Sophie Bear. It is bittersweet to see you grow and go. But, just like we thought and you proved by your response today, you are more than ready. May our house and our arms be the place that loves you most and prepares to you to take on the world.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Whole30 Review

So I first heard about Whole30 a year or so ago in an online fitness challenge group. At the time it seemed radical and impossible (especially since I was pregnant and the thought of healthy food made me queasy). But then, I saw another blogger do it. And then I heard a couple at church did it. I was coming out of the mommy fog, and needing to do something about that lingering pregnancy weight. I was also really tired of craving sweets ALL.THE.TIME.

So, I gave the website a browse. It didn't seem toooo hard. Another friend of mine said she wanted to join in, and John agreed to do it too. We both of course want to be healthy, but our main motivation was weight loss.

So I printed out their shopping list, took an afternoon and clarified butter, made mayo and ranch, and meal planned. All in all I probably put in 6 hours of prep time before we started, and about 2-3 hours grocery shopping at 2 stores.

I will be honest, it takes planning, cooking, and kitchen cleaning. You'll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I don't really mind cooking, so it isn't too bad. I also limited my involved recipes to only twice a week or so. I'm not spending 2 hours a day cooking and cleaning up.

Tonight is our last night of round one. We plan to take the weekend off, then start another round. I will say that I never really had withdrawal symptoms, and I also never really felt "Tiger's Blood" energy that some do. But, I am happy in knowing we are eating much much better food, and setting a better food example. I have lost 5.5 pounds and John has lost 15. Men! I was hoping for more dramatic loss, but, we probably ate more potatoes and bacon than we should have. We are going to try and be more conscientious about that next round.

These are the store bought foods we found essential:
Coconut Aminos (our Publix sells a brand, and it's available online too, used like Soy Sauce)
Coconut milk
Nuts roasted in approved oils (cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts)
Raisins
Tomato paste, tomato sauce
Extra light olive oil (for making mayo)
Eggs
Fruit for snacking
Almond butter
Apple juice (John used this to flavor his LaCroix seltzers)
Apple cider vinegar
Nutpods (a compliant coffee creamer sold on Amazon, for John, I don't drink coffee)
Unsweetened flake coconut (our Publix carried Bob's Red Mill brand)
Bacon (our local family owned butcher shop sells nitrate free uncured bacon)
Alexia brand hash browns (in the freezer section)
Sam's Choice Angus Beef Patties
Aidell's Chicken and Apple Sausages (Publix)

And these are the recipes we tried and liked:
Mayo- I have an immersion blender which made it super easy. If you're freaked out by raw eggs, you can pasteurize them yourself on the stove, I did it for one batch)
Ranch Dressing
Ketchup (I actually combined the seasonings from this one and this one, and omitted the fish sauce, and added water til it got the consistency I wanted)
Marinara/Pasta Sauce (to make Spaghetti over Zoodles)
Turkey Sausage Patties
Paleo Breakfast Bowl
Smoky Sweet Potato Hash
Monkey Salad
Chicken Salad (I could eat gobs of this)
Meatloaf  (I did not make the gravy)
Rosemary Pork Burgers
Chocolate Chili
Hamburger Pie (I used some of the Alexia hashbrowns as a crust)
Garlic Ginger Chicken
Ground Beef and Brussel Sprouts (I added Coconut Aminos)
Apple Cider Vinegar Pork
Shepherd's Pie (I topped with potatoes instead of cauliflower and ground beef instead of lamb)
Mustard Balsamic Chicken
Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
Cracklin' Chicken
Zesty Chicken Bites
Chicken Fajita Bowls
Cauli-Rice
Zucchini Sweet Potato Latkes
Lazy Sunday Pot Roast

Then we'd have dinner salads, chicken stir fry, taco salad, and John smoked a pork shoulder. During the work week we mostly had variations of scrambled eggs, or Monkey Salad. We do bigger cook breakfasts once a week on the weekends. I mostly made double batches of dinner so we could have it for lunch the next day. If I didn't we usually had a salad topped with protein, or a chicken sausage link. For out and about food, we made trail mix with our nuts and raisins. We would have three meals and usually one snack a day.

We didn't have the best Whole30 you can, we could eat more veggies and therefore less meat and potatoes, but we ate veggies at least once a day, and we had NO ADDED SUGARS! for 30 days!!!!!

I also thought these 3 sites had lots of good Whole30 resources
http://laurenhartmann.com/2014/07/the-lazy-girls-guide-to-the-whole30.html
Also want to point out that you really have to read labels- things you think would be approved, sometimes aren't. When 70% of manufactured foods have added sugar, it can be pretty hard to avoid and pop-up in places you don't think of!